Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Listen: First Aid Kit

This morning a friend sent me a cover of the Fleet Foxes song "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" by sisters duo from Sweden called First Aid Kit. I was instantly a fan and had to investigate further. I love the folky/country sound, the plaid and fair isle garb, and their enchanting voices. 

Below find an excellent little piece about these young Swedes, and two videos of songs (including the cover that brought me to them in the first place. 

“Blessed with the voices of plaid-clad angels” The Guardian 

The Swedish duo First Aid Kit comprises sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg (born 1990 and 1993, respectively), hailing from Enskede, a suburb south of Stockholm. Yes, they are very young, but the pure music they create speaks of bygone times and old souls. The emphasis is on narrative lyrics accompanying playful melodies with intense, dense harmonies. 

The musical journey of Klara and Johanna began with singing along to the pop songs that leaked into their childhood home, radio hits by Britney, Christina and so on. However, it was not until happening upon the music of such venerable artists as Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, that the sisters discovered how music that could touch them in a way that those radio songs could not. 

Klara describes her first encounter with the song ‘First Day of My Life’ by Bright Eyes as a revelation. With authenticity and honesty having struck a deep chord within, this is what came to characterize the music of First Aid Kit. It has the feel of forest folk songs, full of enchanting storytelling, and as on EP highlight ‘Jagadamba, You Might’ a sense of compelling, ancient mystery. Their music has much in common with artists like Vashti Bunyan, Devendra Banhart, Bright Eyes, Joanna Newsom, Karen Dalton or The Carter Family. 

At 13, Klara was given her first guitar, and the sisters started playing music and composing songs together in the spring of 2007. The first lyrics, melodies and harmonies came quite quickly. Then came another song. And another. And another. 

The warm ember glow of ‘Tangerine’ was recorded at home and sent it to a Swedish radio hoping it would get attention. It immediately went on air and was listed as one of the best songs of the summer 2007. In April 2008, First Aid Kit’s 7 track debut EP ‘Drunken Trees’ was first released in Sweden on The Knife’s label, Rabid Records. 

Wichita Recordings is re-releasing ‘Drunken Trees’ with a bonus track, the sensational and much You-Tubed cover of Fleet Foxes’ ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’ http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=HMrqBldlqzA, along with a DVD with 3 songs performed and recorded live in the Swedish forest. 

Added keyboard and an autoharp to their live set up, First Aid Kit has already performed at high-profile gigs and festivals in Sweden. A full album is set for release in September 2009. The confidence, wide range of obvious natural talent and exceptional promise of these songs is undeniable. 

The future for First Aid Kit feels star bright.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Thanks for posting, I really enjoyed the songs. So young and so talented. I really enjoy folk(sy) music - I think due to my dad's influence.